The GNOME Desktop Environment

Snipped from

"The GNOME project was born as an effort to create an entirely free desktop environment for free systems. From the start, the main objective of GNOME has been to provide a user friendly suite of applications and an easy-to-use desktop."

End snip.

When the KDE project first started, the Qt libraries ( were not yet free-as-in-speech. The GNOME project was founded to write a wholly free desktop environment. To this end, the GTK+ libraries ( were used instead of Qt. GNOME is now at version 2.2, after a massive overhaul of GTK+ with version 2.0, which introduced a number of nice and pretty features, but which broke backward compatibility, necessitating rewrites of any programs that want to use the newest GTK+ libraries.

Both KDE and GNOME strive for standards compliance and interoperability, notably through the Free Desktop Project ( One can run KDE applications under GNOME and vice versa, so it's pretty much a personal preference -- Gnome can be shinier, while KDE is generally more stable and mature. For comparison, take a look at Wim's screenshots of KDE 3 and these screenshots of Gnome 2.2:


You can use this large GNOME Forum to find out what the GNOME developers and users are talking about. This forum currently archives the many GNOME projects' mailing lists into a forum for cross browsing and search. The forum host Nabble also have a Free Desktop Forum


See also Linux, FVLUG